“There is a ditch on either side of the road” is an expression used to describe how people respond. Our tendency is to respond with superlatives. We swing from one extreme to the other. This happens personally as well as culturally. Thankfully God does not struggle with this. He is the perfect balance of every attribute. As we see God revealed in Scripture, we see Him in His perfection and seeing Him as He is, changes who we are (I John 3:2).
It is difficult for us to balance; remember seeing who can walk further on one rail of a train track? This carries into many areas, but God can keep it in the middle of the road every time. In John 1:14, He is described as “full of grace and truth.” Impressive, the perfect union of truth and grace. On this issue, we swing from one side to the other. Look at Romans 11:22, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.” Or as another translation calls it “the kindness and sternness of God.” Again, an area we struggle to get right, God is both in perfect balance.
The nature of God is revealed in many of the minor prophets. If we read the whole book in one sitting, the fullness of God’s character is evident. Many times, though, we pick only the section we need at the time. Read Zephaniah and be comforted and encouraged by 3:17, “He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” It is lovely and incredible to know God is so close. It is even more astonishing to understand this verse after you read 1:18, “For He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land,” and 3:8, “All the earth shall be devoured, with the fire of My jealousy.” Focusing only on God’s justice, or only on the love of God, lands us in a ditch. Seeing all of God, and balancing the opposite aspects of His nature, gives us a healthier view of Him. It also deepens our understanding of His attributes. Knowing God’s justice makes His love even more amazing. Without grasping His sternness, His kindness is less appreciated. Seeing God causes us to say with Isaiah, “Woe is me! for I am undone…. for mine eyes have seen the King.” And our response will be the same, “Here am I, send me.” Could any response be more fitting after seeing our great God?